competitions not always successful matt malina static limitless freediving

Competitions are not always successful

Two Competitions

It was a hell end of a year. First I have broke unofficial World Record in DYN Bi-fin category and secondly I was taking part in two competitions. BrnoMiniComp 2016 and Silesian Freediving Cup. Our team “Wodne Małpy Atakują” which means “Aquatic Apes Attack” have won in Rybnik. Team consisted of Magdalena Solich, Michał Mrozowski and myself. Individually I have lost two times with Czech rising star, Martin Valenta, purely because of my static mistakes and of course Martin’s massive statics 🙂

Frankly speaking, after Turku I have focused on teaching and preparing materials for my masterclasses a lot and my training went sometimes a bit sideways.

dynamic preparation matt malina concentration freediving world champion dyn

Pink lovers 🙂 fot. Patrycja Radiowska-Polak

peak performance

Which is understandable, we can’t perform 100% all year long and if we do it means that we can’t plan our training well. It also means there is room for improvement cause we would achieve more if we could plan and prepare towards peak performances.

Or at least it’s what I tell myself to sleep well at night 🙂

Nevertheless I was hoping to break a national record in static on one of this events, but I couldn’t. I need more routine, more training and more time when I’m strictly focused on one discipline in order to work it out.

While few training I had in water were very good, it’s still a lot of work in order to convert that into competition performance. I guess a lot of people have been in that point.

In Brno I have achieved 7:39 static and 192 m DNF, 12 hours after beating unofficial WR in DYN Bi-fin (229 meters). I knew this static was a result of residual tiredness and not enough practice. One week later I have done 208 m DNF, 7:33 static and 213 DYN. Again static went not as planned.

However, I’m not worried because now it’s the time, when I have finally sorted a lot of things out. I finished competitions, teaching, preparing and analyzing stuff. Now it’s time to focus on training and on things I want to do and achieve next year.

training time

This is one of my recent training. 9:10 static from which I’m very proud of. Let’s see where I will progress from that point.

Pictures from The Silesia Freediving Pool Cup:

by Rafał Meszka, click here

by Patrycja Radiowska-Polak, click here

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freediving knowledge nutshell masterclass matt malina

Knowledge in a Nutshell – Freediving Masterclass with Matt Malina!

Knowledge is the key!

Lately I’ve finished my second freediving masterclass, which was the first one in Poland. Participants had an unique opportunity to get familiar with my training methods (pool, dry and physical), diet, supplementation, my approach to psychology and generally everything that I know about freediving. There was no secrets and I have answered every question to the best of my current knowledge.

freediving masterclass limitless skladowe sukcesu wiedza matt malina

Success in Freediving is much more than training

Let’s talk about dive responses

On Saturday morning we have started at 9:00 sharp and discussed my approach to freediving, what role it plays in my life and how I mix it with normal work. I talked about physiology and many dive responses we have as well as how to strengthen them.

It’s important to start strengthening them gradually, not all at once. I have discussed different strategies regarding direct preparation before maximum performance and also during the performances.

what type of training actually matters?

freediving masterclass limitless dieta suplementacja odzywianie trening psychologia matt malina

One of many questions that I was happy to answer

I have showed charts with all of my training and competition dives, what changes in my approach, training, diet, supplementation were crucial in reaching new personal bests. Generally I have discussed and flagged important factors that contributed to each of my progress across the years.

Guess what? Not everything I’ve done was right, there are some changes that were bad and I have wasted some time/years by doing them. Now If I could just go back in time and work from the beginning in every compartment, my progress would be much faster.

Learn from my experience

Luckily You have the option and You can learn from my mistakes! Get my 7 years of experience, all of my knowledge in a nutshell!

4 hours passed and we went for a dinner, well deserved break.

freediving knowledge nutshell masterclass matt malina sushi

Sushi – as we can see it’s favorite food of Nitas 🙂

Afterwards we have continued with training plans, what and how I do. I have explained all of the exercises I do and later how I combine them into training plans.
Time passed quickly and at 18:30 we finished the day. We have also started psychology topic which we later continued on Sunday.

Pool stuff

Sunday we have started in a pool at 8:00. I have divided people into a groups of 3. Each group had 1 hour with me in a pool. During that time I have video recorded everyone from all angles. Now, after the course I go through the videos in slow motion, where I analyze everyone’s technique and send emails back with my personal feedback.

After the pool session we continued with theory from about 12:00. We had finished very interesting topic of psychology.

have you ever wonder what to eat, when to it etc in order to boost your performance?

Afterwards we spoke about supplementation and how it can boost our recovery.

In the end there was my favorite topic – Diet 🙂

It was long and fruitful discussion but we have managed to finish around 16:30!

The course was a great success and brought me a lot of satisfaction. I love the feeling of teaching and passing the knowledge, especially in masterclasses where we talk about the advanced stuff.

If You want to organise such masterclass in Your country,make it happen and contact me for details! My calendar for 2017 is limited and bookings fill up quickly!

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Stress, concentration, relaxation – my way to 244 meters on a single breath

World Record – 244 m Dynamic Without Fins (DNF) Matt Malina

Countdown

The day after setting a new World Record in qualifications of DNF (dynamic no fins), time had come for qualifications in DYN (dynamic in monofin). I have played it safe and did what was necessary to get into final A, 250 m.

72 h remaining to DNF finale. In this race I was one of the favorites for gold and I felt a little bit of pressure because of it. I knew how important is to fully recover my muscles and to not lose any power. I’ve made some short physical workout, followed by a stretching session, few minutes in sauna and refreshing bath in cold pool (4C).

Day Off

Next day was a day off. Few hours I’ve spent working on my laptop and in the afternoon, we went for a ride on our bikes. That’s when I’ve started feeling pain in my right toe. It was some kind of joint pain. I was confused because I’ve never felt such pain before in this area. Next day I’ve checked in a pool and while swimming, I didn’t notice any difference, so I was calm because it didn’t matter at all.

concentration matt malina coaching ola during static apnea turku

This time coaching 🙂

Static Finale Malina way – stress management 🙂

It was a day of static A finale. My OT was in finale B. I didn’t plan to compete in static. However I’ve made a 30 m DNF during my “static” and I’ve got a red card with 3 seconds performance time. Why have I done it? I wanted to “feel” the water and the atmosphere of start.

I like this way of preparing my mind for big attempt. Day before I come to the swimming pool at the time of the next day’s official top. I try to reproduce exactly how it’s going to be the next day. If there is official countdown with official zone, even better, because it’s making the whole thing more authentic.

That’s why I wanted to make it into A finale of static, where I would do the same thing as above. Static finale after amazing fight with Goran Colak, won Aleix Segura Vendrell with 9 min. 23 sec. Only by 4 seconds, considering penalty for late start.

Amazing, Aleix is my friend and we both met in Egypt , 7 years ago in 2009. We both were starting our freediving journey there. He talked all the time about Tom Sietas and I about Dave Mullins. It’s funny that last year we have both won World Championships in Belgrade, both for the first time.

Relaxation before DNF Finale

Later during the day, we were relaxing by playing poker with Ola, Karol and Michal. It was our favorite thing to do in Turku. Strangely enough, I was not stressed before the next day. I knew that I’m ready and I will just do my thing. What result it will bring? It didn’t matter. The most important thing in any sport, is to give everything we got and afterwards don’t feel that we could have done more or that we have lost a fight with ourselves.

matt malina plays poker with friends turku freediving

Relaxation during poker game 🙂

Karol and Michal were a little bit tensed, however, we supported each other and there was superb atmosphere in our flat!

During the night I’ve slept well and the day I’ve been waiting for the whole year has come. Will I be able to defend World Champion title? Or will I go back with nothing, without World Record and title. After qualifications, when Arthur Guerin Boeri dropped out, I had a feeling that currently there isn’t anyone else, capable of beating World Record. In sport however, nothing is ever certain, but I had this inner feeling. The question was, whether I will stand up to the task and swim to the best of my ability?

The day has come

Michal and Karol, my flat mates and training partners, both done their personal bests in finale B of dynamic no fins (DNF). 175 m and 180 m respectively. Michal, however made a protocol on wrong site of a line and got a red card.

Half an hour before my official top, it was female finale A. I have crossed my fingers for Magda and Julia! I’ve made mental experiment and instead of focusing and relaxing before my dive I was standing with everyone on the end of the line and cheering for them.

I’ve felt that Magda is capable of beating World Record here, I’ve spot it some time ago. And so she did it! Magda have swum 185 m and won a gold medal while beating World Record at the same time. World Record that used to belong to Natalia’s Molchanova, queen of Freediving. It’s really sad, that they will not have a chance to swim side by side. Nevertheless, Julia surfaced at 167 m, which gave her bronze medal. It was a Polish day in Turku already!

concentration matt malina before world record dnf limitless 244

Concentration!

I went to change my wetsuit and concentrate before the dive. 25 minutes left, it’s more than I need to change and relax before the dive.

Stress -> Concentration -> Relaxation

When I was sitting next to my lane, I’ve started to feel stress. Stronger than during qualifications. I thought “uff, good that I’ve made a World Record in qualifications, at least I have a one good dive if it goes bad here“. I’ve quickly identified this thought. I’ve realized that my ego started to compensate the failure. I was jumping between past and future time. It’s not something I want to do, because it will go all down the road. I’ve quickly brought my thoughts to the ground and focused on here and now. 

When I’ve entered water before official top (OT), all the stress went away and I’ve started to feel just like before any other training. Absolute zero stress, slow and relaxed breathing with my eyes closed, almost like failing asleep. Stress tried to get into my mind but there was no place for it. However, good that stress was present and controlled, because it was enhancing my dive responses, thus my performance was increased.

My mind was empty, I didn’t feel my body, just noticed movements of my diaphragm. I was in some kind of trance. One can say that I’ve entered “flow” state before the dive. Last 2 minutes to official top passed very quickly and I could finally start my attempt.

matt malina flow state concentrates before world record dnf limitless 244 concentration

Flow… fot. Daan Verhoeven

I remember only glimpses of my thoughts

Honestly? I don’t remember much from the dive. Only some random images here and there. It happens to me very often only on the best dives. It’s called flow state. I can say that up to 200 m I was in some kind of a dream. I didn’t feel any contractions, discomfort or burning in my arms. It happens somewhere beyond consciousness. I notice when it happens for the first time, but somehow I can suppress that feelings, move them to the  the small part of a brain, behind the doors, then I lock the doors and throw the key away. This feelings are gone – metaphorically speaking.

When I am at 200 m I awake from such state. I try to control how I feel and how much more I can roughly swim. I’ve decided that I swim one more length and will see how I fell at 225 m. At 225 m not much have changed in term of my performance and I have decided to continue on the middle of the line. I was curious about what will happen next. Approaching 250 m I got scared a little bit, because it’s unknown area for anyone, at least officially, so I have decided to finish my dive there, at 244 m.

matt malina happiness world record dnf 244 world champion concentration

Wow! World Record and World Champion on a single dive! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Being curious is crucial factor that influences our motivation

I had a reserve, don’t know how big, but this feeling is important. It makes me curious, and being curious is a great motivational tool. I can say that now in DNF I don’t explore my capabilities anymore, but human capabilities in this discipline. It makes me even more curious. I wonder, what next World Championships will bring, but I can say now, that 250 m DNF is only matter of time, while half a year ago it was an abstraction, at least to me. Will see who gets there first.

It happened, I have made my dream came true. I’ve become World Champion while beating World Record. Now it was a Polish day in Turku. Together with Magdalena Solich, we both established new World Records and won gold medals. It never happened in history of Polish Freediving, maybe even in whole Freediving history it never happened. I can proudly say that Poland dominates DNF world at the moment!

matt malina swim dnf style technique underwater pool freediving apnea concentration

It was a good dive! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Almost 10 lengths of pool on a single breath of air

Back to 244 m DNF, I must say that this dive was almost perfect mentally. I’m happy that this kind of dives happen more often. However it’s not always the case, sometimes dive feels very bad and each 25 m last forever. Luckily it doesn’t happen on competitions anymore.

But who knows, maybe I won’t have such a good dive ever again and I won’t be able to progress? On the other hand I know that this type of thoughts are compensatory mechanisms to protect our ego from failure and let’s hold to that 🙂

At some point I will describe the last day of World Championships, epic DYN finale (dynamic in monofin).

Special thanks to my official sponsor Grena LTD and BANDI cosmeticsFreemoon for sponsoring Polish Freediving Team at World Championships in Turku.

More photos available to see in my gallery, click here to check it.

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huge motivation tremendous amount work world record qualifications world championships

Huge motivation and tremendous amount of work. World Record in qualifications of World Championships!

world record – 232m dynamic without fins (DNF) Matt Malina

Behind the scenes

Hard workouts, tremendous amount of training done within last year. All of it plus huge motivation and big smile on my face was taken to Turku. Oh and 100 kg of additional luggage 🙂

big luggage for competition

100 kg of luggage

DISAPPOINTMENT in static

Day of dynamic without fins (DNF) qualifications has come. Luckily it was not my first start in Turku. Day before not everything went as planned and I have missed static (STA) finale by 6 seconds. I didn’t plan to compete in finale A of static, even if I would qualify. It was only one day before DNF finale and I didn’t want to make myself tired. However I would prefer to choose it myself, not being forced to it. It was a valuable lesson for my ego, that is what everybody try to protect, consciously or sub-consciously 🙂

matt malina does static apnea in world championships qualifications turku

7:33 and finale B fot. Daan Verhoeven

My work with sport psychologist and healthy motivation

For the past 2 years I co-operate with sport psychologist. Practically speaking, since then I have started to get my biggest successes (e.g breaking my first World Record). Main aspects of healthy motivation are being able to forget about expectations and rating Yourself, because it’s connected with our ego. It’s very important to focus on being present “Here and Now“. Focus on how You would like to feel here and now and just “do Your thing“. It’s healthy attitude and motivation, at least in my case. In DNF qualifications I was full of positive emotions and I was just doing my thing, something that I was preparing for the whole last year.

Motivation and visualisation before world record dnf matt malina 232

Visualisation is an important training method

Additional motivation in dynamic without fins (DNF)

Month earlier during CMAS World Championships in Freediving, Arthur Guerin Boeri have swum 221 m DNF. It’s less than my World Record of 226 m. However it was done in an Olympic sized pool (50 m long) which makes it very respectable. Additionally two days later he was the first man in history to swim 300 m in monofin in DYNamic discipline. In the past I would probably respond to it by feeling fear, maybe it would even brake me as in DNF finale in Belgrade 2013.

Matt Malina dnf 244m underwater swimming technique

I have felt power during the swim! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Luckily I’m not the same Matt as I used to be in the past. Nowadays, successes of others motivate me . They even show me that something is possible and if someone did it, why should I not do it myself? Additionally this circumstances made me realize how much I care about my goals or in other words, good dives in Turku. It’s another aspect of healthy motivation, to establish emotional bond with Your goal. Because of whole this situation I was anticipating for confrontation with other competitors, especially with Arthur in DNF. Maybe it didn’t have a decisive role, but it certainly helped me.

Two different dives

In qualifications I allowed two options. If dive will not go well, I will do 200 m, to be sure finale A is secured without any calculations. In second option I didn’t set any limit to myself. In freediving there is a lot of little variables that decide about end result. If it happens that all of them work to my favor, it would be a big waste to end perfect dive prematurely. Especially since that kind of dives doesn’t happen often and it may surely not happen in finale with all that extra stress. Anyway, for me the most important fact is to challenge my own limits. If that would happen in qualifications and in finals I would have a bad day, I would still be happy about this one dive. Important is inner journey and feelings.

Matt Malina surface set new world record dnf 232

Before surfacing, I knew I have done what I was prepared for! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Course of qualifications

Without any expectations, with one thought in my mind – I do my thing – I’ve started my DNF dive. Quickly I have realized that it’s a good day, maybe even perfect one. Each finished length of the pool confirmed me in that feeling. I was able to swim peacefully and in a relaxed shape.

At 200 m mark I was totally lucid in my head and I knew that I can go to magic 232 m, national record of New Zealand set by legendary Dave Mullins. National record (due to official requirements) set 7 years ago, that was greater than any other world record in this discipline. When I was at 225 m wall, I have made a turn, one arm stroke, removed my neck-weight and came up. I have removed my neck-weight because I wanted to be sure I will not immerse my airways, thus disqualify myself and I had enough air reserve to do it. After surfacing I have completed surface protocol very fast (4 seconds) and white card from judge was just a formality.

Chat with Polish team after Matt Malina beats dnf world record 232

Matt why You have beaten WR in qualification heats? fot. Aleksandr Pangev

Memories of the past and my motivation for the future

I was overwhelmingly happy! I couldn’t believe my dream came true. I remember back in the days in 2009, when Dave set that record. I was in Egypt back then and I was just on the beginning of my freediving journey. My current personal best in discipline was 156 m. 232 m felt far, far away, it was abstraction to me. I never thought I would come even close to that. My lifetime goal was 200 m in DNF for me. However I have reached that mark in 2012 and later I start thinking about World Record. After I’ve set World Record in 2013 I’ve start thinking very shyly about 250 m. Now I know it will happen sooner or later and I’ve start to think very, very, very shyly about 260+, or maybe even 275 m 🙂

You can see dear subscriber how important is healthy motivation. If back in 2009 I would think that my goal is to reach 232 m I would probably discourage myself and would have never done it. This goal was too far and probably any other result wouldn’t make me happy, since my goal wasn’t reached. Instead of this I was creating a personal goal that I could reach within 1, maximum 2 years. Freediving is about listening to our own body and it’s important to race only with ourselves.

Matt Malina set new world record in dnf 232m freediving

Why not ? 🙂 fot. Aleksandr Pangev

Limits are only in our heads

This way my motivation was driving me. I was passing my limits very often and I have come to ultimate conclusion that limits are in our heads. Limit is where I set it to be in my head. It’s important to have common sense and plan for realization of such goals. From observation of myself and others in any sport I think that as long as someone is focused, have motivation and plan for training, he can progress. It is not over until You say it’s over.

Short but precise sentence. Especially in Freediving, where Natalia Molchanova had proved that age is just a number. Good example from other sports is Michael Phelps and his successful come back in recent Olympic games. If he wanted I’m sure he would be able to score a medal or two in Tokyo Olympics but now when he has a kid and some chapter in his life is over, he is probably retired for good.

did I have moments of doubt?

Back to the Freediving World Championships topic, after successful DNF attempt, I’ve started to have moments of doubt. I’ve realized that probably no one have ever set a World Record in qualifications heat. No one had done it because why make myself tired in heats? I’ve heard that I would be better off by saving my strength for finals and I should have planned it better. However I had a different opinion about it. For me heats were primarily a mental warmup and as it turned out later, physical too 🙂

Opening ceremony of Freediving World Championships

Opening ceremony, how it’s going to be ? 🙂

Once I’ve read an article about Olympic champions. I’ve tried to find it but I can’t. Anyway, first there were stereotypical issues analyzed and proved to be wrong e.g  champion should train as number 2 (harder, longer etc.). Next it was described that Olympic champions shouldn’t listen to established rules because their work made them what they are, Olympic champions and they should listen to their gut when it comes to tactic or training routine. They should train like champions, not stereotypically, because that’s how they get that far. I must agree with that!

Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER and his words

I have never concealed that motivational speeches of Arnolda Schwarzenegger helped me a lot at some point of my career. One of his thought I come back to often is:

I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I’m the first one that has done it

Was this thinking good in finale A of World Championships? Read in my next post, meanwhile I encourage You to ask questions and comment below!

More photos available in my gallery, click here!

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